20 Jul 2004

Lee Hsien Loong's recent Taiwan visit was both unnecessary and ill timed

 
 

Singapore Review
 
Quite simply put, Lee Hsien Loong's recent Taiwan visit was both unnecessary and ill timed.
 
Political Analysts have agreed that sending a senior minister on a visit to Taiwan would equate to a slap in the face for China.Conventional wisdom dictates that in the conduct of cross border relations involving a super power like China, it is necessary to proceed with diplomacy and delicacy due to the sensitive nature of the matter. Instead, the matter was conducted with the trade mark arrogance typical of Singapore's Ruling Elite.
 
What made matters worse was the fact that Lee had the audacity to inform China of the visit. This was akin to waiving a red flag in front of a raging bull. What was the rationale behind such a move when the answer to the question was only all too evident?It also did not help that Lee's trip coincided with the Singapore Governments official confirmation that Lee would be Singapore's next Prime Minister.Even if a Taiwan visit was some how warranted, political analysts agree that it should have been carried out less conspicously and it would have been more appropriate for Lee to send a more junior Singapore government representative instead of making the trip personally. It would then have been far easier for China to turn the other cheek and remain "willfully blind" to the visit.Red Faced Singapore government officials and government owned media are still trying to cover up what can only be described as a diplomatic bungle of epic portions. In the days following Lee's Taiwan visit, the pro-government Singapore papers have published volumious reports defending Lee's visit.
 
China has remained unconvinced and has manifested its displeasure by cancelling various visits by Chinese officials to Singapore. It is evident that Diplomacy 101 was one of the essential elective courses that Lee skipped in his illustrious tertiary education. It is also certain that this unfortunate incident will remain unforgotten in Beijing's memory and will create ripples in China's cross border relations with Singapore.
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http://www.etaiwannews.com/Taiwan/2004/07/19/1090202371.htm
 
 
PRC to call off study plans in Singapore, report reveals
 2004-07-19 /
Associated Press / 
 
China, incensed at a recent visit by Singapore's incoming prime minister Lee Hsien Loong (§õÅãÀs) to Taiwan, appears to have delivered another slap on the wrist to the city-state as more than 120 mainland officials called off plans to study there, a report said yesterday. Plans for 126 Chinese officials to study managerial economics and public administration at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have been put on hold, The Straits Times newspaper said. Lee, currently deputy prime minister, will take the country's top job, replacing incumbent Goh Chok Tong (§d§@´É) on August 12, the Singapore government said late Saturday. "We are waiting to see what happens next. But we will suspend the courses for now," Professor Eddie Kuo, the university's interim dean at the school of humanities and social sciences was quoted as saying. The reported rebuke is the fourth since Beijing denounced Lee's trip, saying the two countries' relationship "will, of course, be affected."
 
First, China's central bank chief, Zhou Xiaochuan, canceled a trip to Singapore to attend a central bankers' gathering here. Then, the lower-level mainland banking delegation that did come, snubbed a dinner hosted by Lee, who is also the head of Singapore's central bank and the finance minister. Later, authorities in Shanghai reportedly stopped a Singapore company from holding a trade fair in China's commercial capital.
 
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. Beijing still claims the self-governing island as Chinese territory, and has repeatedly threatened to take it by force. It routinely objects to visits there by other government's officials. Singapore initially described Lee's trip as "private and unofficial," and that he would be meeting "friends." But as official Chinese anger became clear, Singapore later defended the trip with a four-page statement, saying Lee, as prime minister, needed to understand "a potential flash point" in Asia. Largely ethnic-Chinese Singapore has assiduously courted Beijing as its commercial, diplomatic and military clout have grown in recent years.
 
 
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http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040713-061131-2681r.htm
 
 
Beijing blasts Singapore over Taiwan visit
Washington Times
13 July 2004Beijing,
China, Jul. 13 (UPI) --
 
China warned Singapore Tuesday that the weekend visit of its deputy prime minister to Taiwan would adversely affect Sino-Singapore relations and exchanges.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Lee Hsien Loong's trip to Taiwan on July 10 "severely violates the commitments of the Singaporean government on adhering to the one-China policy, undermines the stability of the foundation of China-Singapore ties, and will inevitably have severe consequences for China-Singapore relations and bilateral cooperation."
 
Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, cancelled a trip to Singapore because of the burgeoning diplomatic dispute. Zhang reaffirmed, "The Taiwan question is China's internal affair and we have never required or needed any countries or people to pass on messages across the Straits."Zhang refuted the notion that Lee's visit was a private one, saying, "Mr. Lee Hsien Loong has held senior positions in the Singaporean government for many years, so his capacity cannot be changed by a simple remark."When asked if China would recall its ambassador to Singapore Zhang said, "We are making further study and will take relevant measures according to the development of this issue."
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200407/14/eng20040714_149462.html
 
Singapore could ruin bilateral ties:
China
 
China-Singapore relations will unavoidably suffer gravely from Singapore's incoming leader Lee Hsien Loong's just-concluded visit to Taiwan island, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
 
Answering an inquiry at a news conference yesterday, Zhang Qiyue said Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lee's visit to Taiwan has severely violated Singapore's commitment to the one-China policy and damaged the political base between China and Singapore, she said. "Such a move will produce serious effects towards bilateral relations and co-operation, and the Singapore side should be responsible for all the damage," Zhang said.
 
As a result, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the China central bank, has cancelled a trip to Singapore, where he had been scheduled to give a lecture, reports said. "The Taiwan question relates to the core interests of China," Zhang said. "China holds a persistent, formative and clear-cut position on this issue."
 
In response to a follow-up question over whether China plans to recall its ambassador from Singapore, the spokesperson said the Chinese side is considering relevant measures according to developments in the situation.
 
 Reports said Lee flew to Taipei on Saturday and left yesterday for what officials described as a private visit, during which he met with island officials, including Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian.
 
In response, Singapore reiterated on Monday that it adheres to the one-China policy, and does not support Taiwan's "independence," according to local press reports. Singapore officials have stressed that Lee's visit is "a private and unofficial visit" and does not in any way change the above-mentioned policy, nor does it represent any challenge to China's sovereignty or territorial integrity, reports said.
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200407/13/eng20040713_149366.html
 
China central banker cuts Singapore trip          
 
China's central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan has canceled a speech in Singapore scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday), due to concerns of Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's visit to Taiwan.
 
On Sunday, the Chinese foreign ministry voiced dissatisfaction over the visit and said Singapore must take full responsibility for his trip. Singapore reiterated the city-state's backing for the `one-China Policy' and said it doesn't support Taiwan independence. It added that Lee Hsien Loong was making a private and unofficial visit to Taiwan to meet friends in his first trip to the island since 1992.
 
 
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Source: CRIhttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-07/11/content_1591063.htm
 
BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhuanet) --
 
China expressed strong dissatisfaction with and protest against the visit by Lee Hsien Loong, deputy prime minister of Singapore, to Taiwan, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here Sunday.    
 
The Singaporean side should take full responsibilities for results from the event, Zhang said.    
 
Lee, neglecting China's repeated solemn representations, insisted on heading for Taiwan for a so-called unofficial visit on July 10.   
 
Zhang said the Taiwan issue is directly related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the Chinese government firmly opposes official relations in any form between countries that have established diplomatic ties with China and the Taiwan authorities.
 
China expressed strong dissatisfaction with and protest against the visit by Lee Hsien Loong,deputy prime minister of Singapore,to Taiwan,said Chinese Foreign Minist ry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here Sunday.
 
The Singaporean side should take full responsibilities for results from the event,Zhang said.Lee,neglecting China's repeated solemn representations,insisted on heading for Taiwan for a so-called unofficial visit on July 10.Zhang said the Taiwan issue is directly related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the Chinese government firmly opposes official relations in any form between countries that have established diplomatic ties with China and the Taiwan authorities.
 
The Singaporean leader hurts China's core interests,the political base between the two countries and the feeling of 1.3billion Chinese people,by heading for Taiwan under any excuse,said the spokeswoman.   
 
 



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